UNICEF and Abortion: The Case of the Dominican Republic

Steven Mosher
PRI Weekly Briefing
12 May 2009, Vol. 12, No. 15
Reproduced with Permission

United Nations foreign aid groups enjoy what is perhaps some of the most unqualified public support of any organization. But we have found that not only do they promote abortion using tax money, but they even lie about it.

We have received a good deal of support since we revealed the intent of the Pan-American Health Organization UNICEF at the Pastoral Social Encounter of Children and Adolescents at Risk. We exposed them and their plans to form a "strategic alliance" with the Catholic Church (see earlier Weekly Briefing here). We now have additional details to share with you.

Does UNICEF support abortion? Consider the case of the Dominican Republic, whose Congress is debating an amendment to the constitution that would protect life from conception to natural death. This change would make abortion illegal.

UNICEF, however, opposes this change. According to the newspaper Diario Libre in Santo Domingo, in its March 25 issue, "the regional director of UNICEF for Latin America and the Caribbean, Nils Kastberg, today asked the Dominican people to come to a decision on the subject of abortion, which is banned in the country, and urged participation in any discussions on the subject could facilitate an amendment to the Constitution."

Kastberg goes on to attack the Catholic Church directly, expressing "horror" at the very idea of abstinence education. Kastberg called the Church "hypocritical" for promoting abstinence education in Dominican youth when "high levels of sexual abuse" had been "committed against [young people] by the same church."

Although many may be astonished to hear such attacks coming from a high-ranking UNICEF executive, we at PRI are not. We have heard such attacks before. UNICEF has a long history of supporting abortion, even in the face of local laws and precedents. Of course, some UNICEF functionaries still try to deny this abortion link. Dr. Manuel Manrique, the UNICEF representative that Carlos Polo interviewed just a few weeks ago in Quito, told Carlos that UNICEF does not support abortion. Now we have Nils Kastberg, virtually simultaneously, publicly attacking the Catholic Church, in an effort to promote the legalization of abortion in the Dominican Republic. Is it possible that Dr. Manrique, in his effort to "relaunch" the relationships of UNICEF and the Catholic Church in Latin America, is ignorant of these facts? I find this very hard to believe.

In any case, what is indisputable from Kastberg's statements is that UNICEF supports legal abortion. They also refute Manrique's claims. When Carlos mentioned UNICEF's support of the legalization of abortion in Mexico and Nicaragua, even showing him documents signed by UNICEF representative, Debora Comin, he persisted in his denials. Manrique tried to make Carlos believe that Comin, Kastberg, and others were only acting in their personal capacity, and not as representatives of UNICEF.

Abortion Machines:

First, a clarification. In our Weekly Briefing on April 13, we mentioned two items (0760640 Pump, Suction, foot-operated / EA 3750 Oct-07 units 0760605 Pump, Suction, portable, 220V, w / access 2100 Oct-07 units) that we said were suction abortion machines. They are not, and we apologize for the error.

At the same time, we continue to assert that UNICEF has officially approved the use of machines to do abortions and that, moreover, the organization promotes abortion. It does this both individually and in conjunction with other pro-abortion organizations. Let us explain:

A joint publication of WHO, UNFPA, UNICEF and the World Bank entitled "Managing Complications in Pregnancy and Childbirth" recommends the use of MVAs (Manual Vacuum Aspirators) to do abortions. The document, whose title contains the UNICEF logo, can be viewed online here.

On page 61 it says:

The preferred method of evacuation of the uterus is by manual vacuum aspiration. Dilatation and curettage should be used only if manual vacuum aspiration is not available.

The 2007 catalog of Durbin Clinic Sales, a UK-based company, contains the MVA (Manual Vacuum Aspirator), in the section "Termination Equipment", which has the subtitle "IPAS Manual Vacuum Aspiration Instruments." Is on page 41 of 45. You can download the catalog in PDF: On page 42 these machines are described and documents signed by UNICEF are quoted.

"Manual Vacuum Aspiration (MVA) is a simple and effective method for uterine Evacuation. The procedure is 99% effective, with complication rates lower than D & C, to perform quick, gentle and patient-friendly. A joint publication by WHO, UNFPA, UNICEF and the World Bank and endorsed by the International Confederation of Midwives and FIGO recommends MVA as the procedure of choice: "The preferred method of Evacuation of the uterus is by manual vacuum aspiration. Dilatation and curettage should be used only if manual vacuum aspiration is not available."

MVAs can be used for incomplete spontaneous abortions, but UNICEF nowhere insists that this is the sole use to which they should be put. Quite the contrary. UNICEF's abortion agenda makes it clear that MVAs are to be used for elective abortions as well:

  1. UNICEF is working in many countries to "decrimialize" abortion, which in reality means that abortion becomes legal. This is true not only in the Dominican Republic, but in other Latin American countries, like Mexico or Nicaragua, as well.
  2. UNICEF also contributes to organizations like IPAS, which are openly in favor of abortion as a human right, and are also commercial distributors of suction abortion machines. In 2002, UNICEF was responsible for organizing the General Assembly on Children in New York, where IPAS was invited to promote its suction abortion machines.

The evidence is clear: as an institution, UNICEF promotes abortion in many different venues and in many different ways. Any partnership between the Catholic Church or any other pro-life organization and UNICEF is inherently problematic for this reason. UNICEF, as well as all other United Nations organizations, should come clean about its abortion agenda.